Sexual Harassment: Why it is “normalized” and Why Women are Numb to it (Part II)
Glad to have you back. Let me tell you this story:
There was this guy working at an office where a friend of mine worked. Almost all the female staffers didn’t like him for naught! He came across as if something about him wasn’t right and he soon proved that suspicion.
One day, my friend was at the office kitchen rinsing a cup at the sink. The weird guy came and stood behind her so she moved to create space for him as the kitchen was spacious enough for two individuals to not get in each other’s way. By the time my friend had realized what was happening, the pervert had brushed his hand against her hips. Of course, he pretended to not know what he just did.
Tell me, is that not sexual harassment? Can’t women go around their businesses without being subjected to such degrading overtures?
Let’s say we weigh the severity of the incident just narrated against say, rape. But since the man in question didn’t physically assault her, we just move over it and never raise an alarm even though we hate it to our core.
In the Gambia, being a woman is sometimes just too difficult. In a place where a lot of young men just sit around on the streets waiting for anything in skirt to pass by, every time a woman walks out of her home, she has subconsciously prepared her mind for the catcalls, hollas and unwanted attention.
“Sometimes, it is the woman’s fault”
This is a sentiment shared by both women and men alike and is, ridiculous! Why is that we feel it is a woman’s responsibility or place to keep the male libido in check?!
Why is it that a woman has to second guess her choice of clothing every single time before she sets foot out her home?!
And with this same argument, one must then admit that men are void of autonomy and thus, self-control and cannot be held responsible for any sexual violence they may commit against women.
The idea of a woman “checking” what she wears as a means to protect herself from the perverse male gaze comes from patriarchy’s obsessive desire to police the female body and every wonderful and miraculous thing it is capable of doing.
Well, here are my final thoughts on the matter
#1.Choice of Clothing
It has and should never be the job of a woman to keep a man in check sexually based on what she chooses to put on her back. In all honesty, the depravity that may be found in the male gaze comes from socially, or self-taught behaviors that must be unlearned by the holder of such behaviors.
Can you fill a cup that is already full? I think not!
#2.Respect for Women
As disappointing as it is to say, men MUST be taught to respect women and from now, we must start from the grassroots—the little boys. To inculcate respect for women in men, we must ‘catch them young’. It is only when they grow with the full understanding that women are not objects would we succeed in eradicating the problem from our society.
Regardless of the type of clothing I choose to war as a woman, it gives no man the right to disrespect me in any way, shape or form! The female body has been so hyper-sexualized to the extent that even the visibility of a woman’s curves is taken as an invitation for the male gaze.
Remember, no matter how the appearance of a woman, you do not have the right to harass her.
RESPECT THE FEMALE BODY!